Opinion: Administrator Absurdity


Ricky Barker, Columnist

On July 21st, the adminstations showed its true feelings and emotions toward Black students’ experience on our campus. The whole situation was cringeworthy at best and generally horrible at worst. It’s a long story filled with intentional misdirection and, in the end, it does not look good for the university as a whole.


It began when the social change group BlackatApp organized a Zoom meeting with the central members of the administration to discuss the major issues that face many students on this campus. This was to be a small meeting, allowing the group to voice their issues with the major players in Appalachian State’s leadership, specifically Chancellor Sheri Everts, Chief Diversity Officer Willie Fleming, and Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Norris.


Ideally the university was going to hear the concerned students voices. They, of course, facilitated the meeting,  so naturally they expected to hold the meeting on their terms. They drafted their own agenda for the meeting, sending a link and setting a time for the administration. However their original purely good intentions were dashed by the university’s inability to allow bottom-up change on campus.


The administration ignored the original link and sent an alternate link. BlackatApp begrudgingly used the link provided. According to the group, they earnestly believed the reason their link was not used was miscommunication and technical difficulties.  What they found was a complete lack of any cooperation or trust. They found their original plans shattered. 


Chancellor Everts decided to fill the meeting with more administrators than agreed upon, various members of the university’s hierarchy. BlackatApp, of course, voiced their complaints over this and were quickly shut down. However, the worst was yet to come. If it wasn’t enough to silence the voices of the students through numbers, they muted all the members of the social group and spoke over them for the majority of the meeting. 


They began explaining, as often large institutions do, the “major strides” they have made on the issues and their growth. They even offered a complimentary Q/A at the end for the students. Of course all of their obvious concerns were thrown aside, just as all their hopes for the meeting were thrown aside. 


This is an absolute embarrassment for Appalachian State University. They have made it clear it’s easier for them to sweep these issues under the rug than actually dealing with them in a productive and harmonious way. However, this is not something that goes away– the various problems facing Black students will come back into focus. The more these issues get ignored, the harder they are to be overcome.